1.) Family comes first.
When I woke up in the ICU I was surrounded by my entire family. They drove is far as from North Carolina immediately when they heard the news to be there for me. I could not imagine what it would’ve been like if I woke up alone.
The bond between my family has grown stronger through what most people would say was a tragedy. Treat your family with respect and encourage one another and push them forward. Your family knows you best and they care about you more than anyone because you have grown together.
The best part about my life is my family. I have a large and loving family that is very supportive of me. I knew before my accident how much they love me but now I understand it to the fullest extent. For that I am grateful.
2.) Always be there for your friends and they will be there for you in your time of need.
I think one thing that I have done right in my life is that I have treated my friends very well. I will drop anything for a friend in need even if it is the smallest favor. I answer my phone every time it rings and respond back to text messages almost immediately.
When I was in the hospital for almost 4 months there were only three days that I did not have a friend visit me. I shared a room with a kid my age for the first month and throughout that entire time the only person that visited him were his parents one single time. He had a tattoo on his chest that said “trust no one”.
Work on building great relationships and trust with your friends. These will be the people you need when your family is not around.
3.) Be selfless.
Selfless is defined as showing unselfish concern for the welfare of others.
During the first year after my accident all I cared about was my own recovery. I wanted the self-pity and I was always looking to others to tell me that everything would be okay.
When I started writing that was when everything turned around. I realized I had a powerful story to tell and message to spread. I got so much satisfaction out of helping others that it in turn helped myself.
All I simply was doing was sharing a story and being open about everything. People started telling me about the tough situations they were going through and were telling me that it was my strength that helped them get through it. At the time I wasn’t even strong enough to crack a smile, but over time the people I shared my story with built me up and changed me into a better person.
We all have lessons that we have learned in our lives that can be shared with others. Use all the tools you have to help others and I promise you that in the end it will put a huge smile on your face.
4.) Make yourself vulnerable.
We all have secrets and stories that we are afraid of sharing because we feel that we will be judged. That’s what I thought when I first started writing. Although the more I opened up and talked about my emotions and gave away my secrets the more praise and followers I got.
I love to tell it how it really is because so many people are afraid to and people need to know. If everyone was open about their life and made themselves vulnerable and shared their secrets, then people wouldn’t feel so alone. So many people are ashamed of certain things that they have done when in reality there are so many more out there that share that same thing that they are shameful of. If we all were more open about our lives then the world would be a better place.
5.) Do what you love and you never will have to work a day in your life.
Don’t ever take a job because of the money. Happiness is worth a lot more than money.
When I graduated with a civil engineering degree so many people urged me to find a civil engineering job. I want to utilize my degree in the future, but I understood when I graduated that I was needed for something more. I wanted to become a motivational speaker and an author. Today that dream is a reality.
The first 50 speeches I gave I did for free and loved every last minute of it. Now I’m getting paid to do something that I love more than anything and when I look at my schedule I count down the days until the next speech.
Writing is something I really love and that is not something you usually hear from an engineer. It started with this blog and then came the book. When writing the book it felt like I was talking to a brick wall for a year and a half. Now that my story is out there the rewards far outweigh the obstacles.
I think the reason I enjoy what I do so much is because I feel that I’m truly helping people. So many people have reached out to me and said so. If I was working for someone else I feel that I would be building their dream and not mine.
I do not make a lot of money doing what I do, but it is more than enough to keep me happy especially since I never feel like I’m working. Choose a job where you feel like you will have an impact on other people’s lives and not just on your bank account or on your boss.
There are so many more lessons that I have learned in the last 3 1/2 years, but I believe that these are the best five lessons I could think of. I want to thank all of you for joining me on this incredibly exciting journey. I look ahead to the future and embrace the past. Thank you for giving me back my life, which is actually a life that is better than I could ever imagine!